Kristy Mills is one of the 600-some Roper St. Francis teammates who have recently moved into new, airy and bright RSF office park on Palmetto Commerce Parkway in Ladson. As a Reimbursement Coordinator for the Payment Integrity Team, Kristy’s workday is spent either on the computer or on the phone making sure insurance companies are abiding by their contracts with Roper St. Francis.
“I’m at my desk all day long, except for my break, when I go for a walk on the walking and fitness trails, which are great!” she says. But even though she’s otherwise deskbound, Kristy stays active and has a ball, on her ball.
Kristy first started using an exercise ball in lieu of a desk chair when she worked as a customer service rep for a cardiac rehab facility in Charlotte. “There were no office chairs there, all the exercise physiologists used balls to sit on, so I did, too.” When she moved to Charleston five years ago to advance her career with Roper St. Francis, the ball bounced with her.
“I love it because I’m working my core all day long. Also it makes me sit up straight. You can slouch,” Kristy admits, “but you really feel it when you do.” Now when she goes to the gym as she does regularly at O2 Fitness in Mount Pleasant, she can tell that her core is tight and strong. “Even when I was slacking off a bit on other exercise, my core was strong,” says the native Ohioan who earned her degree in hospital administration from Bowling Green State University.
Occasionally Kristy will “roll my seat right over” to a colleague’s work space if they’re collaborating on something, and it’s not unusual, she says, to find her bouncing/dancing around to a little classic rock to ward off the mid-afternoon slump—a healthier option than coffee or sugar. “I’ll roll backwards and stretch on it too,” adds Kristy, who also uses a ball as her desk chair at Mount Pleasant home.
Another RSF colleague (who recently moved) saw how Kristy was having a ball and was inspired to get one to use in the office as well. “She enjoyed it too,” Kristy says. “I hope others might give it a try. It’s great to feel your core tight all day, and there’s a sense of freedom—you can move around. It’s not as uncomfortable and depressing as being stuck in work chair all day.”
A few tips if you’re interested in trading your desk chair for an exercise ball:
- Start with using it for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. Then build up.
- Inflate the ball to its proper height; your thighs should be parallel to the floor (90 degrees) when you’re seated on the ball.
- A 45 cm ball works best for those under 5 feet tall; a 55 cm ball fits people between 5’ to 5’ 7” and a 65 cm ball is best for those 5’8” and over.
- Most balls are durable, and just need to be inflated periodically. In her eight years on the ball, Kristy has only had 2 balls, although she bought a new lime green one when she moved in to her new Ladson office. “It was such a nice bright new space, I wanted a bright new “chair” to go with it,” she says.